What's now. What's next.

Category Archives: Innovation

What we’ve been reading | April 4 2014



The SourceDoug Aitken
A comprehensive public release of the artist Doug Aitken’s ongoing series of conversations with the creative individuals shaping contemporary culture | 4 min video

How Tesla is driving the new purpose economyCo.Exist
The electric car company is slowly reshaping how people think about driving. Following the same pattern can help any social entrepreneur get people excited about world-changing products. Here’s what Tesla is doing | 8 min read

Ex-Googler invents a better way to buy bras | Co.Design
San Francisco based startup Thirdlove is trying to revamp the awful bra-shopping experience by letting women size themselves int he privacy of their own homes | 5 min read

This Little-Known iOS feature will change the way we connect Wired
A new iOS app called FireChat is blowing up in the App Store. But it’s not the app itself that’s causing such a stir, it’s the underlying networking technology it taps into | 4 min read


This is what Candy Crush Saga does to your brain | Guardian
The Candy Crush game app exploits some well known weaknesses in the human brain to keep us playing | 4 min read

The rise of the API economy and consumer-led ecosystems Wired
Just a few years ago, application programming interfaces (APIs) were largely viewed as an easy, functional way to make applications work together, a digital adhesive of sorts. Today, the value of the API has evolved into much more than a simple bridging mechanism | 4 min read

Principles of good data analysisGreg Reda
Data analysis is hard. In this article, Data Analyst Greg Reda shares his top tips for making sure you don’t fall down the analytical rabbit hole | 5 min read

Human uniqueness | Nautilus
Shining a light on the spark that separates man from beast | 7 min read


15 common mistakes designers make | Creative Bloq
All designers make mistakes. Designer Craig Minchington examines the most common ones, and how to avoid them | 9 min read

D&AD names the best design projects of the year | D&AD
D&AD, organisers of the world’s most prestigious design award ceremony, reveals this year’s nominations | 5 min read

Embrace empathy – it’s good for you and your people | B&T
‘Employees will often forget what you say. They will often forget what you do. But they will never forget how you made them feel’ | 4 min read

25 Fascinating charts of negotiation styles around the world (Part 1) Business Insider
By focusing on the cultural roots of national behaviour, both in society and business, we can foresee and calculate how others will react to our plans for them, and we can make certain assumptions as to how they will approach us | 5 min read

24 Charts of leadership styles around the world (Part 2) Business Insider
Determining national characteristics is treading a minefield of inaccurate assessment and surprising exception. There is, however, such a thing as a national norm | 5 min read

Here’s why you’re not hiring the best and the brightest First Round
‘Call me crazy, but I think if we’re going to talk about hiring the best talent available, we should actually try to do that. This means letting go of the idea that people need to be physically present for any meaningful work to occur’ | 10 min read


PR agencies will not exist in a decade | mUmBRELLA
Is that shocking enough for you? Well it’s true. Too many PR agencies are outdated, the traditional media landscape is shrinking, and with increasing numbers of advertising, social media and even SEO agencies getting in on the action, we need to smarten up’ | 5 min read

April Fools 2014 roundup | mUmBRELLA
April 1 brings out the fool in many of us and this year has been no exception. Here’s a wrap-up of the April Fools gags we’ve spotted, courtesy of the folks at mUmBRELLA | 5 min read

Why syncing into social values is important | MarketingMag
Ad agencies have been banging on about it for years. Marketing 101 lecturers are catching up and market researchers shy away from it. But the truth cannot be ignored: we just don’t think as much as we think we think | 6 min read

Spinach wins Karcher, Ledified, South Melbourne Market and more | B&T
The five wins utilise Spinach’s full suite of services, with the agency looking after media planning and buying, digital, creative, strategy and more for the new accounts | 5 min read

D&AD: Yellow Pencil Noms for Droga5, GPY&R, Havas, Leo Burnett, DDB, BMF and Jamshop | CampaignBrief
Australia ranked #4 behind UK, US and France | 3 min read

 
 

What we’ve been reading | 14th March


Silicon Valley’s youth problem NYTimes
In start-up land, the young barely talk to the old (and vice versa). That makes for a lot of cool apps. But great technology? Not so much | 12 min read


The truth about speed reading Lifehacker
Last week, we showed you Spritz – a new app that promises to help you read novels in minutes. Here’s why it might not work | 8 min read

How to build a digital strategy ready for artificial intelligence | BRW
Digital strategy is still siloed away under ‘marketing’ by most Australian corporates. But only an integrated approach can properly exploit advances like social media monitoring by artificial intelligence | 5 min read

Harvard is looking for a ‘Wikipedian in Residence’ | The Atlantic
The school’s Houghton Library is seeking someone to help make its collections as accessible as possible | 8 min read


My brain has no space for your user interface Josh Timonen
‘I imagine this ‘UI storage’ area of my brain is like the box in my closet containing a nest of computer and cables. It retains most of this UI knowledge—and I can get at it—but I have to detangle it from fifty other UI assumptions I’ve gathered over the years’ | 6 min read

How this startup turned financial advice into an algorithm and made $200M | QZ
Imagine if poring over your finances were as easy as using your favourite app, or smartphone—or any of today’s crisply designed technologies that make life easier, smarter and more efficient | 5 min read

Emotions are viral | QZ
The mood of your Facebook updates is directly influenced by the moods of those in your newsfeed | 5 min read

Japan just realised that it’s now the centre of the bitcoin universe | QZ
Japan has become perhaps the world’s most important locale for bitcoin, the digital currency that was supposed to liberate its users from the tyranny of geography—and its government is playing catch-up | 8 min read


How actors create emotions: A problematic psychology | The Atlantic
Fully inhabiting the mind, mannerisms, and reality of a fictional character can be as alienating as it is rewarding | 8 min read

100 Years of Design | Second Story
Second Story has collaborated with AIGA to create a centennial microsite that celebrates the profound impact design has had on our society over the last century | 10 min experience

Why songs have choruses | The Atlantic
The secret lies in how your brain processes sound: People love repetition | 6 min read


There are 16 leadership skillsBRW
But you only need two or three | 8 min read

Square-shaped is the new T-shaped | Medium
What’s better than knowing a little about a lot and a lot about a little? Knowing a lot about a lot |10 min read

70% of time could be used better | First Round
How the best CEOs get the most out of every day | 10 min read


Officeworks selects DesignworksB&T
STW’s strategic design agency Designworks has been appointed to Officeworks following a competitive pitch | 3min read

AFR journalist Emma Connors joins Ogilvy PR | mUmBRELLA
Ogilvy PR has appointed Australian Financial Review journalist Emma Connors as the Senior Media Strategist for the company’s PR Health and Corporate division. | 10 min read

Designworks buys New Zealand’s The Church | B&T
The Church team will move into the Designworks Wellington campus on March 10, and have already begun collaborating on a number of joint projects and new pitches | 3 min read

 
 

What we’ve been reading | Friday 7th March


This demo of a real-life Hoverboard is incredible to watch, even if it’s fake.

Young people are angry and leaving TV in droves The Guardian
Vice chief executive Shane Smith on video journalism, North Korea – and why he won’t be taken over by a big rival | 10 min read


What branding means in the experience design era | TNW
How experience designers will fill an increasingly critical role in helping brands to determine how they translate and transfer themselves into a world where the virtual and the physical are one | 15 min read

This app can help you read up to 1,000 words a minute Time
Who says the Internet is making us less effective readers? ‘Spritz’ is devoted to turning you into a super-powered book devourer, conquering novels in a single bound | 2 min read

The tech industry is gloriously ridiculous TechCrunch
Shining a light on Silicon Valley as the new old Hollywood with VCs as producers, founders as directors, with most everyone desperate for blockbuster hits | 5 min read


Why England still builds Victorian prisons | Co.Design
In a word: control | 5 min read

Why teens are the most elusive and valuable customers in tech | Inc.
From Facebook to Snapchat, everyone wants a piece of the teen market. Here’s an in-depth look at what they want and why they’re so damn tough to hold onto | 15 min read

Mandela was right: the Foreign Language Effect | Mapping Ignorance
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart” | 8 min read


A review of Her by Ray KurzweilKurzweil
“If she can have a voice, she can have a body” | 10 min read

David Lynch on consciousness, creativity and the brain | YouTube
How meditation can aid in the creative process | 8 min watch

ALT TXT | Seizure
Language is changing – and we are changing with it | 10 min read


Asking for of giving feedback? | 42 Floors
Try the 30% rule | 10 min read

The job after Jobs | Wall Street Journal
From the moment he became CEO of Apple, Tim Cook found himself in the shadow of his boss | 8 min read

How to make yourself work when you just don’t want toHBR
Can you imagine how much less guilt, stress, and frustration you would feel if you could somehow just make yourself do the things you don’t want to do when you are actually supposed to do them? | 5 min read


24hrs, 6 teams, 1 technology, 1 charity | Lifehacker
Over the weekend, six teams from DT Sydney and Melbourne competed in a hackathon to build a Google Glass application for the Red Cross. This is what they learned | 5 min read

A story of values | Inside Retail
While activism has been a defining characteristic of sub-cultural groups forever, lifestyle activism is now mainstream | 5 min read

Twitter Australia moves PR account from Thrive PR to Ogilvy | mUmBRELLA
Social media platform Twitter has moved its public relations account from independent firm Thrive PR to Ogilvy Australia | 5 min read

JWT Sydney wins The Smith Family account | IBB
Australian children’s charity The Smith Family has appointed JWT Sydney as its lead creative agency, following a competitive pitch conducted late in 2013 | 3 min read

 
 

What we’ve been reading | Friday 21st February


The Vice Guide to Engagement | Google Think Insights

House of Cards is built on Big Data | Salon

By analysing its subscribers’ preferences, Netflix can be sure its original content will find an audience. But is that a good thing ? | 15 min read

Machine Language | The Verge

How Siri found its voice | 15 min read

When hardware acts like software | Ideas Lab

Digital fabrication — the ability to instruct a machine to create a form defined on a computer — is blurring the line between software and hardware | 10 min read

Invisible money | Fjord

The transformation of money will affect commerce at every level | 5 min read

The death of expertise | The Federalist

Exploring the Google-fueled, Wikipedia-based, blog-sodden collapse of any division between professionals and laymen, students and teachers, knowers and wonderers | 15 min read

Why people trust online reviews for dinner but not doctors | Quartz

‘I’d give you five stars if your hands were warmer’ | 5 min read

Why I left advertising to become a software designer | Co.Design

There’s a war for design talent between technology and advertising companies. Marc Scibelli of Infor explains why he left the ad industry after 18 years to focus on the UX of business software | 10 min read

Haven’t made it yet? Don’t stress. Big breakthroughs come in your 30′s | The Atlantic

What the ages of Nobel Prize winners tell us about creativity  | 10 min read

How technology makes creative more intelligent | Google Think Insights

Google’s Creative Platforms Evangelist talks about how new tools and platforms can help marketers create “intelligent” ads that are engaging and meaningful to consumers in the moments that matter | 8 min read

How the internet uses nostalgia | The Atlantic

Long-lost memories pop up in music recommendations, personality quizzes, and ads. Why? | 10 min read

Brand building in a digital age | Martin Weigel

Old thinking for new times | 18 min read

When Yahoo Reigned Supreme | Priceonomics

In the 1990′s, Yahoo was a really big deal. What can we learn from that? | 15 min read

A mobile content marketing strategy just became essential | Forbes

What Google’s latest algorithm update means for your content strategy | 10 min read

From foodstamps to fortune| Forbes

How Jan Koum Built WhatsApp into Facebook’s new $19 billion baby | 10 min read

Getting to the bottom of the top end of town: 5 myths about engaging execs | Marketing Magazine

It’s easy to make assumptions when marketing to senior executives. They’re impossible to reach. They don’t read marketing. They’re humourless money-men, who just need the bare facts laid out in short, sharp, staccato fashion. Interestingly, the evidence suggests the opposite | 5 min read

Your story of experience | Smart Company

In today’s connected world, consumers can navigate their own way through a brand experience and buy anything and everything at the tap of a key | 5 min read

 
 

A sceptic’s week with Google Glass

With some tipping Google Glass to further evolve change our day-to-day experiences, DT’s creative technologist and Glass sceptic Tim Devine found some surprising results after a week with the device.

In a kind of tribute to Steve Mann, the father of wearable computing, and so that I might have at least something of an informed opinion on the subject, I wore Google Glass for a week — everywhere, all the time. For thirty years Mann has worn far less sophisticated versions, so I figured it couldn’t be that onerous, and if I was to give Mann and Glass proper shrift nothing less than full immersion would do.

Aside from my Mann crush, as a creative technologist and practicing media artist my work has at times suffered from crushes on various technologies. There is something wonderful about expectations for a new technology — beyond the new toy anticipation the potential for a leap to occur, even if only in the imagination, is sufficient to begin all manner of feverish speculation.

My relationship with Glass as a technology reminds me of a girl I was seeing a few years ago. While crashing on a friends couch in Brooklyn after an epic romance and break up I noticed a card that read, “I will always cherish the initial misconceptions I had about you”. Love is blind but temporarily.

Spike Jonze’s Her is closer than we think 

So the question this led me to suppose was do our relationships with technologies form in a similar way to our relationships with people? A hot flush at the beginning, fading slowly to something you could reasonably take for granted but pine for when you’re apart, replace with the new and shiny, or even do away with altogether?

A few weeks ago I found myself, a youngish creative technologist, contemplating an arranged marriage with Google Glass. Our agency, DT, was fortunate enough to acquire a couple of sets and as I run the creative technology lab I felt obliged to engage.

To be honest, if I could solve a brief with a single fold in a sheet of A4 paper I would. I’ve spent years trying to neutralise the effect technology has on me, while endeavouring to deeply understanding it — when a technology like this is pre-released and inevitably polarises the community, it ends up shrouded in media hype, shrill denunciations and misrepresentative guesswork in the rush to be earliest non-adopter.

The most useful commentary comes from direct experience no matter the device. So I flipped the SIM from my iPhone 5 into a Nexus 5, (Glass needs to be tethered to an Android phone) and strapped on Glass for a week.

Wearing Glass is like dating a celebrity

All week I scored free drinks and double takes as I went about my everyday. It was with me everywhere — driving, golfing, the beach, cycling, the cinema, a rooftop bar, work, watching a band, a restaurant, rock climbing and importantly while I lay hungover in my lounge room hammock. I didn’t skydive, fly a stunt plane, frolic with reptiles, trapeze, sword fight, juggle fire, ice sculpt, own a catwalk, hot air balloon or figure skate — though I was ready for it all, Google.

Glass brings voice interaction into a far more functional context. You have to give over to it, to the point where it sounds like you’re talking to a puppy — very conspicuous if there isn’t a puppy around. If you enunciate, and the sound environment is at a reasonable level, it’s pretty good.

Halfway into my week I found myself engaging in conversation with other computer generated voices, similar to accidentally swiping a non-touchscreen, or mentally pressing “Command-Z” when you pour salt instead of sugar into your tea. In a most illustrative case I was in the part harried, part dazed condition induced by self-checkout in the supermarket.

When asked if I wanted a receipt I accurately turned to face the machine and robotically, in perfect oral formation, enunciated “No. (Pause) Thanks.” Under normal conditions I’m as irritated and diminished as the next person by the automated voice of those machines yet here I was naturally, if automatically, having verbal exchange with one as I would any corporeal service entity.

Fear of blinking in bathrooms

Glass is great for capturing content by voice or wink detection. It’s some kind of wonderful snapping photos with the wink of an eye. Every time I posted something to Facebook it was tagged ‘via Google Glass’, and shot from my 203cm perspective. The result is a peculiar kind of kink in the cultural and visual aesthetic to the content glass captures — it will always be shot from slightly above and outside your right eye, though I eventually figured out how to take a selfie without looking at a mirror. I did find myself trying to warp my neck or body for the best shot, but generally I took photos with a quick wink. If you wish to you can imagine my cold, blinkless disposition while I line up in a bathroom at the rooftop bar.

Being unusually tall I’m used to people compelled to ask questions about my experience up there. With Glass I’ve added an entirely new set of icebreakers. Mostly I found myself looking awkwardly out of windows on trams so as to not to have passengers opposite feel like they were in my camera’s field of view. Maybe there will be a mechanical shutter door in future releases to alleviate this awkwardness. Or better still, maybe we need a new type of necklace that emits powerful infrared light visible only to Glass and not the human eye, blowing out all photos taken with Glass, like a kind of urban camo! Tech, counter tech.

Google Glass sits somewhere between the hype and a hands free bluetooth headset with a screen/camera

My original view of Glass was that it was a thing you wore all the time and that it would more or less replace your phone. Personally I wouldn’t wear it all the time. In the Glass Explorer forums there are countless tips on when it’s appropriate to wear it or how to avoid confrontation — like a dojo really. That said, it’s been 24 hours since the end of my experience and I’ve caught myself peering longingly up to where my Glass once satiated my visual cortex… I miss it… if only a little.

Some people will love Glass and wear it all the time (afforded the excuse to wear prescriptionless designer frames). For others maybe it’s a part-time screen, with similar utility to a hands free earpiece. Either way Glass, or some other brand of face-screen coming soon, is definitely going to be part of our mediated life.

Tim Devine is a Creative Technologist at DT.

This article was originally published on mUmBRELLA.

 
 

What we’ve been reading | Friday 14th February


Crowd funding explained | 3 minutesCheap words | New Yorker

Amazon is good for customers. But is it good for books? | 3 min read

Giant fungus towers will be grown in New York City this summer | New Statesman

Not a response to NYC’s overheated property market, but one possible sustainable construction method for the future | 2 min read

In 2043… | SVBTLE

“I work at an accelerator. My boss asked me to predict 2043.” | 5 min read

Technology and wealth inequality | Altman

Technology makes wealth inequality worse by giving people leverage and compounding differences in ability and amount of work | 10 min read

Facebook fraud | Veritasium

A must watch for anyone who’s ever bought Facebook ads | 9 min watch

The  hacker’s guide to getting press | Austen Allred

Learn it. Try it. | 10 min read

The science of humour | New Republic

It takes 36 hours after a tragedy for jokes about it to become funny | 5 min read

Become 5% better Ad Strategist | Medium

Overcoming everyday errors of creative strategy | 5 min read

Flappy Bird is proof that no one knows what the audience wants | Polygon

How did a game with no marketing, no story, no viral hooks, no levels, no candy, no visual sophistication, no cross promotion and no achievements capture the hearts and fingers of millions of gamers? | 5 min read

Why writers are the worst procrastinators | The Atlantic

The psychological origins of waiting (… and waiting, and waiting) to work | 10 min read

Lessons for storytellers | Contagious

TMW’s senior planner Roz Hase discusses redefining the craft of storytelling today | 5 min read

Twilight of the brands | New Yorker

It’s a truism of business-book thinking that a company’s brand is its “most important asset,” more valuable than technology or patents or manufacturing prowess. But brands have never been more fragile | 8 min read

It’s official: Pepsi has just about had it with soda | QZ

For struggling soda companies like PepsiCo, munchies, not fizzies, are the business of the future | 5 min read

Long live the brand | HBR

Brands aren’t dead, but traditional branding tools are dying | 3 min read

From the archives: Parkinson’s Law of Triviality | The Guardian

Why organisations give disproportionate weight to trivial issues | 3 min read

The art of crafting a 15-word strategy statement | HBR

All great business strategies can be summarised in a short headline. Easy to understand and communicate, they convey clarity internally and externally to the customer | 5 min read

Paul Everson moves to JWT Sydney as client services director | Mumbrella

Adding to the agency’s strategic and creative firepower, Everson’s appointment adds another string-to-the-bow of the Sydney leadership team | 2 min read

Boom time for political operatives as limping lefties make way for rampaging right | AdNews

The Abbott government has its sights set on everything from media ownership rules to competition policy. For the peddlers of political influence, it’s snatch and grab time | 1 min read

Melbourne Food & Wine Festival takes us on a sensory journey via Ogilvy Melbourne

“Through the use of artistic and sophisticated imagery, along with cutting edge technology and promotions, (the campaign) hopes to also capture the attention of a whole new audience” | 30 sec watch

Personalised print guides for showing friends around new cities | Springwise

Jauntful is a service that enables friends to create their own personalised, printed and digital travel guides for guests visiting their town | 2 min read

Renault’s off-road concept car launches a drone out of its roof | Wired

The tiny drone can be controlled through either a tablet on the dash or by setting GPS waypoints, alerting the driver of obstacles in the road, beaming pictures back to the car.

 
 

A heady brew: how to balance passion projects with working full time.

by Nextness published April 17, 2013 posted in Innovation




Photos by Nik Janev.

It’s fair to say almost everyone who works in the creative industries has a side project incubating in their dreams. But DT strategist Athan Didaskalou has actually made his happen with the launch of Three Thousand Thieves, a monthly coffee subscription. Every month he and his team hunt down and curate Melbourne’s best artisan roasters, and deliver the coffee straight to subscribers’ doors.

Like all the best ideas, it was prompted by first-hand observation. Whether it’s fetishising the humble brunch or waiting two hours a night for a new dessert degustation pop-up, Melburnians have a passion for food culture and love to discover and try new things. And in turn, that creativity is expressing itself in how we cook. But Ath realised this sense of discovery never really extended to the coffee we make in our own kitchens.

“When you make coffee at home, it’s often only ever with the one blend from the one brand,” he says. “It’s either purchased from a place close to work or home, or, you have an emotional bond with that brand and that’s why you continue to purchase it.”

But playing it safe means missing out, because Melbourne is a coffee-roasting hub. Rarely do you find so many artisan roasters within a city, Ath says. The problem is that their exposure is often niche. “Three Thousand Thieves acts as a marketing tool for these niche brands, exposing themselves to a larger coffee loving audience. The result is connecting Melbourne’s best roasters to an audience who were still stuck buying Lavazza by empowering them with local knowledge and lowering the barrier to try it.”

Before DT, Ath had been in hospitality his whole life, including at a small coffee roaster in North Balwyn.

Of course, having the insight, passion and the experience means nothing if you don’t get the idea off the ground.  
Though he realises he is not the first person to discover this, launching a business was actually a lot harder than he anticipated. “Essentially, I became my own worst client. All the things I usually recommend to in my day job came second on my list of priorities. I obsessed about sales, packaging, reducing costs, identifying the right suppliers, and at the same time ensuring these factors kept my business model profitable.”

But he has found that the clients he works with at DT enjoy talking shop with him. “It’s been great to discuss accounting issues and marketing efforts with clients who give you their own opinions about what works and what to focus on.”

Now those same DT clients have become some of Ath’s first customers. And so have his bosses, who love his idea. “DT harbours a culture of entrepreneurship, and working in that environment definitely rubs off on you,” Ath says, though he could just be saying this to suck up. (He admits to using the company printers “once or twice,” thanks to DT’s supportive MD Brian Vella.)

How does he juggle working full time and doing all this on the side? He’s built some balance directly into his business model. Since it’s based on a monthly cycle, Ath and his sister Anthea print and pack the orders over the month, and dispatch the coffee the day after it’s roasted. That means the workload is spread out and, touch wood, there are only a few late nights. “With the right business model, you can do something a little fun on the side and maintain your sanity.”

What’s next? Ath would like to grow Three Thousand Thieves organically. Interestingly, he identifies the biggest area for growth as the ‘curation via subscription’ business model itself.  ”Melbourne has such a unique food culture: the people, the flavours, and the opportunity to dabble in diversity is limitless. I want to connect that with the digital world, and get more people involved with the passion for food in this city.”

The next Three Thousand Thieves delivery is this Thursday. Mention Nextness when you subscribe and get a month on Ath!